S. Clint Hudson D.M.D., M.D.

Oral Surgeon - Huntsville

2317 Whitesburg Drive , Huntsville, AL 35801

(256) 533-1282
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By S. Clint Hudson DMD, MD, LLC
June 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

In the past, the options to replace a missing tooth were limited to cosmetic options like dentures and crowns and bridges. While both aredental implants highly effective options to restore aesthetics and the ability to eat and speak clearly, they only address part of the problem that results from tooth loss. Most of the focus of a missing tooth tends to be on replacing the crown, but the root also play a vital role in preserving your oral health. Dr. S. Clint Hudson, an oral surgeon in Huntsville, AL, recommends dental implants for healthy adult patients missing anywhere from one to all of their natural teeth.

Dental Implants in Huntsville, AL

Implants are designed to work in much the same way as a natural tooth. The first stage involves replacing the root of the missing tooth with a small, biocompatible screw that fuses to the surrounding bone tissue in the gums. Once the process (known as osseointegration) is complete, a cosmetic crown is attached to the implant to complete the restoration.

Why Does Bone Loss Matter for Your Oral Health?

The bone tissue in the gums starts to erode as soon as a tooth falls out or is extracted, essentially creating a vacuum that can lead to a number of oral health problems, as well as complications to serious general health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. From inflammation to infections and instability of neighboring teeth, preserving healthy bone tissue in the gums is an important part of keeping up your dental and general health.

From a cosmetic point of view, dental implants are the closest restoration to your natural teeth, and are a permanent solution to the problem of adult tooth loss. With meticulous oral hygiene at home and regular follow-up treatment with your oral surgeon, implants have a high success rate over the long term. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of dentures. If you are an adult in good health with enough bone tissue to support an implant, you may be a good candidate.

Find an Oral Surgeon in Huntsville, AL

For more information about dental implants and to find out if they are a good option for you, contact our oral surgery office by calling (256) 533-1282 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hudson today.

By S. Clint Hudson DMD, MD, LLC
April 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth   tooth removal  

The removal of wisdom teeth might seem like a rite of passage that everyone has to go through in their late teens or early twenties, but wisdom teethit's not always a required procedure. Dr. S. Clint Hudson, your oral surgeon in Huntsville, AL, has many years of experience in treating wisdom tooth problems. Below is information on what wisdom teeth are and why some people need to have theirs removed.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the final set of four molars that typically emerge sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. Located in the back of the mouth, they can be useful for chewing foods like meat or raw vegetables. But because earlier humans had larger heads, and therefore larger jaws, many people no longer have room for them to grow in properly. Below are some scenarios that necessitate removal of the wisdom teeth by your Huntsville oral surgeon.

Crowding

Molars are the largest teeth in the mouth, and the wisdom teeth are no exception. If there isn't space for them to come in, they will begin to push up against the other teeth to make room. This can lead to the other teeth becoming crooked, which is especially troubling for those who have already had orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth.

Impaction

This is a situation where the wisdom teeth have essentially become "stuck" in their attempt to break through the gums. Impaction can be complete or partial. When wisdom teeth are partially impacted, leftover food in the mouth can become stuck under the gums where the teeth have started to emerge, leading to infection. Completely impacted wisdom teeth can lead to painful cysts.

Your oral surgeon, Dr. Hudson, can check the status of your wisdom teeth by using X-rays to determine their growth pattern. He may recommend removal before they even come in to prevent problems. The wise thing to do is to contact his oral surgery office in Huntsville, AL, to schedule an evaluation today!

By S. Clint Hudson DMD, MD, LLC
February 15, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Bone Grafts  

Would you like to get a dental implant, but it's been a few years since you lost your tooth? Bone loss, common after the loss of a tooth, bone graftsdoesn't have to prevent you from receiving an implant. Bone grafting can restore and strengthen your jawbone. Dr. S. Clint Hudson, your Huntsville, AL, oral surgeon, shares some information about bone grafts.

Why are bone grafts needed?

Dental implants bond to your jawbone, providing a secure foundation for the crowns that will be attached to the top of them. A strong, deep jawbone is needed to adequately support implants. Unfortunately, after you lose a tooth, your jawbone begins to shrink, losing depth and width. If you've been affected by bone loss, it's important to build up your jawbone with a bone graft.

Bone grafts aren't only used in preparation for the implant process. Oral surgeons use them when gum disease causes bone loss or if an injury damages your jawbone. Bone grafts may also be recommended to replace bone damaged by cysts or tumors.

How does bone grafting work?

Adding small amounts of bone to your jawbone helps build it up, creating enough depth and width to support dental implants. If you're expecting to see actual pieces of bone, you may be surprised. Bone granules, powder, putty or gel are commonly used in grafting. The procedure is less complicated than it may seem. Before it begins, you'll receive a local anesthetic and will be comfortably numb.

Your Huntsville oral surgeon will make a small incision in your gum and then place the grafting material inside. The material acts as a scaffold around which new bone will be formed. The bone-building process generally takes up to seven months. Once X-rays reveal an improvement in your jawbone, you can begin the dental implant process.

Do you think you may need a bone graft? Call Dr. Hudson, your Huntsville, AL, oral surgeon, at (256) 533-1282 to schedule an appointment.

By S. Clint Hudson DMD, MD, LLC
January 18, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: root resorption  
GetanEarlyStartTreatingRootResorptionBeforeitsTooLate

Baby (primary) teeth look and function much like their permanent counterparts. Besides having a visible crown, they also have roots that maintain contact with the jawbone.

But there are some differences, the biggest one being the normal process whereby primary tooth roots dissolve or, in dental terms, resorb. Root resorption eventually leads to the tooth coming loose to make way for the permanent tooth.

Adult tooth roots can also resorb — but it's decidedly not normal. If adult root resorption isn't promptly treated, it could also lead to tooth loss — but there won't be an incoming tooth to take its place.

Although it can begin inside a tooth, adult root resorption usually begins on the outside. One type, external cervical resorption (ECR), begins around the neck-like area of the tooth not far below the gum line. Its initial signs are small pink spots where the tooth enamel has eroded; those pink cells within the space are doing the damage.

We don't fully understand the mechanism behind ECR, but there are some factors that often contribute. People with periodontal ligament damage or trauma, sometimes due to too much force applied during orthodontic treatment, have a high risk of ECR. Some bleaching techniques for staining inside a tooth may also be a factor.

The key to treating ECR is to detect it as early as possible before it does too much root damage. Regular checkups with x-rays play a pivotal role in early detection. Advanced stages of ECR might require more advanced diagnostics like a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan to fully assess the damage.

If the lesion is small, we can surgically remove the cells causing the damage and fill the site with a tooth-colored filling. If ECR has spread toward the pulp, the tooth's inner nerve center, we may also need to perform a root canal treatment.

Either of these methods intends to save the tooth, but there is a point where the damage is too great and it's best to remove the tooth and replace it with a life-like dental implant or other restoration. That's why it requires vigilance through regular, semi-annual dental visits to detect the early signs of root resorption before it's too late.

If you would like more information on adult tooth root resorption, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Resorption.”

By S. Clint Hudson DMD, MD, LLC
January 10, 2017
Category: Oral Health
SeekImmediateTreatmentforthisAdvancedFormofGingivitis

It takes only a short time neglecting your oral hygiene before you begin to notice some unpleasant things with your gums: swelling, redness or even bleeding. These are all signs of gingivitis, a periodontal (gum) disease that arises from bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces when a person doesn't brush or floss.

Fortunately, early stages of gingivitis can be treated effectively with comprehensive plaque removal during one or more office visits. If, however, it's not dealt with early, it can develop into something much more serious: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This form does more than leave you with unattractive teeth and gums and terrible breath — it could eventually cause you to lose your teeth.

ANUG is also known as trench mouth, a common ailment among front line World War I soldiers without access to proper dental care and hygiene. It's most prevalent today among individuals who are under a great deal of stress, not sleeping or eating well and haven't cleaned or properly cared for their teeth for an extended period of time. Tobacco smokers also seem more susceptible than non-smokers to the disease, perhaps because smoke dries the mouth and changes the bacterial environment.

Unlike common gingivitis, ANUG can be quite painful. In effect, the gum tissues begin to die (necrotize), especially the triangular peaks between teeth known as papillae. Besides the other symptoms of gingivitis, the tissues may become yellowish.

ANUG can be treated effectively. The first step is to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation through medication. The focus then shifts to treating the underlying cause, bacterial plaque. Besides plaque removal common in any treatment for gum disease, we may also need to initiate antibiotic therapy. Metronidazole is a common antibiotic that's been demonstrated effective against the specific bacterial strain associated with ANUG. We might also combine this with an antibacterial mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine.

The final step belongs to you: to keep ANUG or any other gum disease from reoccurring, it's important for you to adopt a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits for thorough teeth cleaning and checkups. Taking this proactive approach will help ensure you won't suffer from this painful and unattractive form of gingivitis again.

If you would like more information on acute gingivitis, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”





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